Why You Need to Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life

August 15, 2018

On January 14th 2020 Microsoft will end extended support for the Windows 7 Operating System. This is known in tech terms as end-of-life for the software. So, what does this mean and how do you prepare for Windows 7 End of Life?

What The End of Extended Support Means

Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life

Firstly, end of support doesn’t mean that Windows 7 will stop working. But, and this is a big but, end of support does mean that Microsoft stop developing the product, and this means no more security updates. After the 14th January 2020 all technical assistance and automatic updates that help protect your PC will no longer be made available for the product. Sticking with Windows 7 means you are extremely vulnerable to exploits and bugs. Not something you want to risk in a business.

Microsoft “strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.”

Why Is This A Problem?

Surely everyone has moved from Windows 7, it’s almost a decade old now? Based on the latest figures Windows 7 is still the OS on 46.6% of all Windows PC’s. Microsoft estimate that means that 184 million commercial PC’s are still running the software. It’s estimated that Windows 7 will account for 35% of all active Windows editions when support ends.

All of those devices, and the information on them are open, to attack, exploitation and data theft.

What Can Businesses Do To Prepare For Windows 7 End of Life?

Windows 10 upgrade screen

To prepare for Windows 7 End of Life you need to first identify the machines that are running the Operating System.

Once you know what you’ve got its time to think about upgrading or replacing.

Minimum specs for a Windows 10 PC are as follows:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processoror SoC.
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit.
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
  • Display: 800×600.

These specs are fairly modest, so most older machines will be able to run Windows 10. There is some speculation that as Windows 10 ‘evolves’ then these specs may no longer be enough. However, Ian Moulster, Windows product manager, said Microsoft’s ambition is for the OS to continue to run on as many machines as possible.

Whilst upgrading is an option, Windows 7 end of life may be a good opportunity to put together an IT refresh plan and start to replace older hardware.

We recommend that desktop PC’s are replaced every 4 years. Windows 10 was released in July 2015, meaning that most Windows 7 machines will be ready for replacement by 2019.

It may be more economically viable to purchase new rather than upgrade. There is a cost to the licence – £219.99 for a pro-licence from Microsoft – whilst any machine running Windows 7 is likely to need replacing soon anyway.

The most important thing is to start planning. Whilst January 2020 seems ages away it is only 16 months. If you’ve got many PC’s that need upgrading or replacing, then you need to start planning now.

When Will Support For Windows 10 End?

The positive news is that with the introduction of Windows 10 Microsoft adopted a new way of working. This is known as Windows as a Service (WaaS) and is good news for business. From this point forward, businesses using Windows 10 will remain up-to-date with the latest fixes and updates.

Effectively Windows 10 should be the ‘last’ Windows. You won’t ever need to upgrade to a new operating system. Incremental updates will happen behind the scenes without major upheaval. So, in a few years’ time whilst Windows 10 may look completely different it will have ‘morphed’ in the background with no costly, difficult upgrades.

How We Can Help

If you’re already a client of Your IT give us a call and we’ll tell you which machines are running Windows 7 and how old they are. We’ll do this as part of your reviews anyway and we’ll be in touch about those soon.

Not a client of Your IT? Well, if your business is still using Windows 7 we can assist you as you prepare for Windows 7 End of Life. We can talk you through the best solution to move away from Windows 7 and discuss options to finance the change, including Hardware-as-a-Service. Contact us to get started.

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